The Next Generation movies have been the last to get the 4K upgrade. Obviously, the newest reboots pretty much already came in 4K as soon as the format existed. Then they did the first four beloved original cast movies, finally completing the set with the underrated V and VI. Now, the four Next Generation joins the future of home video.
Let’s start with some aspects that are consistent across all four movies. Deep space looks great in 4K in all of them. There are great shadows in crew quarters and exploring vessels in crisis. All have ambient space noise and score in full surround, with ship fly bys zooming around and rumbles in the ship battles.
Generations looks like the film I remember playing through the holidays in 1994 as I was a movie theater ussher. The close-up detail on the champagne bottle christening the Enterprise-B looks great. There’s a cerain glow on the bridge, and that goes for the holodeck boat too.
The ‘90s film look grounds the space effects so they don’t look too digital. There was probably still some model work in 1994. The rusty Klingon Bird of Prey remains gritty and Veridian 3 is a deser planet with bright sun on the rocks. Also the mountains in Captain Kirk’s nexus fantasy.
In First Contact, the new enterprise looks a little bit sleeker. So do the new gray/blue crew uniforms. The dark Borg cube holds up against deep space. The more the Borg assimilate the enterprise the darker the ship gets and holds up in High Dynanmic Range. The shiny Borg queen glistens.
Insurrection may be the best looking film of the lot, since it’s mainly set on the paradise Ba’Ku village. The Enterprise is bright too. Insurrection has the best space scenes of these four, with the Briar Patch especially glowing with colorful phenomena.
So Nemesis becomes a real step down from the beginning. The establishing shots of the Romulan City look wonky with 2002 era CGI that does not hold up. The washed out dune buggy scene does not improve in 4K. Nemesis is oddly the grainiest Trek film, which may be authentic to the elements but it looks perhaps zoomed in and blown up.
Some movie specific sound effects include sea noise in Generations’ Holodeck scene, Borg noises in First Contact and the silly dune buggies in Nemesis.